27th July 2013
Finally, today is the day for Ally to be a Hen. I have been planning for this for a long time, so I am more than ready for it to happen!
First of all we took ourselves over to Wandsworth for a tea party at Lost Society. This could have been better. Originally I had booked for about 12 of us, but by the day there were only 6, which they had been great about accommodating, as I emailed about changing the numbers repeatedly. However, when we got there we were sat at a very low table, half on pouffes, half on a sofa. This meant none of us were overly comfortable, bent over the table and unable to lean back on anything. We had asked if we could be moved to one of the many empty tables with chairs, but were told they were all booked up only for them to stay empty the entire time we were there.
We had two vegetarians amongst our number, but the selection of sandwiches didn't seem to actually reflect this. There were 6 kinds, two vegetarian, two meat, two seafood. I don't eat prawns as they can make me ill, and intensely dislike smoked salmon, so they were out for me. The meat choices were ham and Parma ham, which is nice but not that varied, and I didn't like to eat the veggie ones and they were the only choice for those people. Not fantastic. The cakes were nice, but slightly spartan for a cream tea. Luckily, the mega plus point was that included in the price were unlimited bellinis and prosecco. This just about made up for the food and seats, though the service was incredibly slow. I imagine this is because we only have a set amount of time we could order them in, but it was just a bit much really.
After our tea we got ourselves over to our hostel, relaxed for a short while, then got ourselves back out again, planning to grab anything to eat on our way to our evening entertainment.
We made a choice that cut that entertainment much shorter than it was supposed to have been. We spotted a small restaurant just along the road from where we going and decided it was as good a place as any, and went in. It was terrible. It was Meshwi, avoid like the plague. We went in and ordered drinks, which they had to be asked about before they were brought over, 20 minutes later. Two people had ordered a starter platter between them as a main, when they ordered the waiter asked if they would like it with the other meals and we confirmed, yes, it was to be a main meal. About half an hour after that their meal arrived, which included tabbouleh. This turned out to be just a bowl of chopped parsley with a lettuce leaf and half a chopped tomato. For some bizarre reason Iris, the recipient, decided to eat the whole thing. Some sort of Man vs Food challenge. She didn't get a t shirt, just loads of parsley.
Now this may utterly shock you, but the other main meals did not arrive with the starter. Again, we had to ask for them, twice, and they arrived a good 30 minutes after the first set of food had. We ordered some water, which arrived in bottles. The waiter said they were warm, so he would get us some ice. We thought he meant the glasses were warm from the dishwasher, turns out the water was warm, verging on hot, goodness know where they had been kept.
We had asked for the bill about 15 minutes before we really wanted it, anticipating a wait. This tactic didn't work, and we had to go up to the till to get them to take any notice of us. We managed to get them to take off the cost of the water as it was undrinkable, and after some arguing, 10% off the bill. We told them about how slow the service had been all night, the response was "well you wanted a starter at the same time as the meal!" Sorry mate, you can't use that as an excuse when you didn't do it. We weren't the only ones unhappy, there were a table of men who overheard us and said they didn't want to pay at all for their meal, and that everything had been shockingly bad. We didn't expect a whole lot, but certainly better than that.
About two hours after we arrived, hoping for a quick 45 minute in and out meal, we left.
Luckily we had chosen our terrible restaurant as it was close to Bethnal Green Working Men's Club whee we were headed for the evening. I was quite annoyed that we had missed a lot of the acts I was most looking forward to, a ventriloquist and a banjo player who had started performing the year my dad was born. We were still able to watch a good enough amount of the other acts, and were fortunate enough to be standing next to some people who left their table at the front so we could sit down after not too long.
The acts were fantastic, it was a Cockney night, lots of singing along and dancing. It took us a little while to get up to dance, but it was wonderful when we did, if sweaty. I would HIGHLY recommend going there if you have the opportunity, I am sad it took me this long to finally go. Zuzi had been telling me about it for years, but it being so far from Ealing it had been difficult to manage.
Back at the hostel we settled ourselves in for the night. It was at this point when I realised up this was going to be my life for a few months. I'm quite excited about it now...it's scary to think of going alone, but I'm actually really looking forward to it!